25 February 2009

Local Raw milk

A few of my friends in town have recently been getting raw milk from a local farm. After hearing wonderful comments about it, deciding that the local factor was well worth it, plus seeing that the $3 per gallon was very comparable to the grocery store price, I decided to try a gallon. So I talked to my one of my friends and he pick a gallon up for me when he went to get his. Yesterday I got the milk! I used it in the spinach sauce for our dinner and had a glass to drink. I think I'm hooked. I had my husband only pour me a half glass thinking it was be really thick. My husband and I tend to drink 1% and I buy a 1/2 gallon 2% for cooking and for my 2 1/2 yr old to drink. He's skinny and I feel can probably use the extra fat (of course so could my husband, but 1% is a compromise. He grew up on skim :( ). I was pleasantly surprised to find it tasted alot like 2%. I was expecting a thick whole milk feel. Of course it's been awhile since I've had whole milk so who really knows. The important thing is I like it. The down side is that right now I don't think DH is going to drink it. So I'll have to keep some 1% on hand. I keep thinking I should at least look at the organic at our local whole foods store. Check prices and such. The down side of raw milk is that I'm told it tends to go sour by the end of one week. But really that's not a problem for us. We use a lot of milk. Another fun thing I'm hoping to try with this milk is making my own yogurt. I know you can make yogurt with pasteurized milk, but another friend who is using raw milk says that her yogurt turns out so much better using the raw. So now I just need to try. I've never been motivated to try to make my own yogurt. However I'm starting to feel some motivation coming.

22 February 2009

Menu Plan Monday

Well last weeks meal plan went very well. I ended up switching Thurs and Friday. My 2 yr old son had stomach flu and it was easier to do the pizza than what I had planned on Thurs. Of course then I had to deal with him want pizza and not really being able to eat it because he was sick. :( Poor guy. We didn't end of eating out of Sat. Instead we ate at my mother's. It was a wonderful meal. I also had to come up with a last minute Sunday supper because we didn't have enough left overs. We had a lentil chili over homemade buns that was very tasty. Plus there is enough leftovers for lunch this week. Even if we eat it everyday, we'll still probably being eating it till Wed or Thurs. Well here is this weeks plan.

Breakfasts: Cereal or oatmeal
Lily pads on Tues or Wed- spinach type pancakes found in Sesame Street Silly Snacks (very cute and fun kids cookbook that is separated into color groups that match a monster)

Lunch: leftovers, pb&j, hotdogs
Sunday lunch- church potluck- bringing Tuna pasta

Monday: Cheese Corn Chowder
Tuesday: Green Spaghetti
Wedensday: Church meal
Thursday: Italian Beef & Veggie Casserole
Friday: Baked Chicken, stuffed potatoes, peas
Saturday: leftovers
Sunday: Crustless Broccoli Quiche

If you want more ideas for meal planning this week visit Organizing Junkie

20 February 2009

DIY plant pot- milk jugs and more

I've really wanted to start growing some of my own food. But I have little motivation to start an outside garden for two reasons. One, we don't own the house or plot of land it sits on. So I know all the hard work I put into clearing a spot for a garden may not be utilized after I'm gone. Which feels sorta like a waste. Two, we may be moving this summer. And if not this summer most likely by the next. So I may nor may not even get a full growing season out of the hard work. So in hopes to both fully me desire to grow my own food while keeping the work load manageable I've decided I can plant herbs and maybe even a few vegetables or whatnot in pots. That way I can start now and when it gets warmer just take them outside. My big dilemma with this is I don't want to spend money on buying a whole ton of pots. :( Luckily I ran across this tutorial for making a planter out of a milk jug on Instructables.com. Quick and Easy self-watering garden planter. I've already tried it and I have two little sprouts that just popped up yesterday. I was so very excited!!

Well this got me thinking of other things lying around my house that I might be able to use. We don't really drink pop, so I don't have 2L bottles. But I do have other things that might work. My big idea is using a tidy cats plastic container as a planter for a tomato plant(or other larger plant). We have three we got off of freecycle to use as a diaper pail. But we really only use one right now. We keep it in the garage and take it with us on all day trips. Anyway, while I don't have cats and their for don't buy litter, I'm sure I could get more off of freecycle. And they should be just big enough for one tomato plant. :) Yeah!!!!! So now I just have to go try it. I think I'll probably wait till I finish planting the rest of my herbs. Just need to finish this next jug of milk.

15 February 2009

Menu Plan Monday

I've read for years now the benefits of making a weekly meal plan. When you plan out your meals for a whole week you can make a shopping list to go accordantly. This limits those last minute trips because you need some ingredient you forgot. It can help ensure that food is used in a timely manner and in turn limit the amount that gets thrown out because it spoiled. All and all planning ahead, like in most area of life, can save us time, money and help the environment while we're at it. Unfortunately I've never been good at make weekly meal plans. I have this great fear that come Thurs I won't want what I planned but won't have any other options. Irrational, I know. But I am who I am. :) Well yesterday I went through my pantry and made a list of the items. I've been wanting to do this for awhile. One, I tend to stick to the same few recipes. The positive is it's easy because I already know how to prepare them. And I for the most part I can try to have on hand nonperishable ingredients for those staple meals. The negative is that sometimes I forget to use other items I pick up for some meal I didn't end up cooking :(. Two, some good friends of ours are fostering a young boy who they recently found out is allergic to gluten and lactose. Not wanting to throw good food out, they gave us all their food items containing ingredients he can't have. So I have all this food that I don't normally cook with that I'm needing to incorporate into our meals. Actually I'm quite excited because I see it as an opportunity to try some new recipes. So after finding out what is in my pantry and my freezers I've decided that the best way to ensure I'm using food, and thus limit the amount that we throw out (which is more than I really want to), I need to start creating weekly menus. So here it goes, this weeks meal plan.

Breakfast- cold cereal or oatmeal

Lunches- leftovers, pb&j, hot dogs or mac & cheese

Monday- Black beans and sweet potato burritos- recipe from Simply in Season cookbook
Tuesday- Spaghetti with Tuna and Tomato Sauce found on Food Network.com
Wednesday- Church meal
Thursday- Mushroom Burger Enchiladas
Friday- personal pizzas
Saturday- eat out
Sunday- leftovers

I'm sure I'll try to do dessert for some of the meals. Just don't know what yet. Also I tend to fib alittle on recipes and don't follow exactly. But what's above will be the basic idea.

If you want more ideas for meal planning this week visit Organizing Junkie's Menu Plan Monday

09 February 2009

T-shirt bags and more

We have lots of t-shirts around here. This last summer I donated a large stack to Salvation Army and still our closets seem to be overflowing with T-shirts. Weeks after I donated many of my T-shirts I ran across this website.

Now maybe you have seen this idea before. But to me the idea of turning my old t-shirts into shopping bags was genius. I was wanting a cheap way to have more cloth bags. And this was it. Luckily for me we still had tons of t-shirts around to try it out. It was so easy. I made a bunch for my brother for Christmas. My mom was so impressed she has been asking me to make her some. Unfortunately I have been working on other things.

The one thing about making these bags is that I had a ton of sleeves left over. I didn't just want to toss them out. So my original thought was to sew them together into squares to use for family cloth. If you haven't heard of this idea it is when you use cloth wipes rather than toilet paper. Well I decided it would take too much energy to actually sew them. Instead I cut of any seams and just used them as is. No sewing. They work great. I keep a basket beside my toilet for the clean wipes and an old ice cream bucket with water and BacOut on the floor with the lid on. I then throw them in the diaper wash every two days. Now I understand that for many family cloth sounds extreme. When I first heard of it I thought it was alittle crazy. But I cloth diaper my children. Why won't I consider using cloth wipes myself? And by using my t-shirt sleeves it didn't cost my anything to make myself wipes.

The other thing I am doing with the t-shirt sleeves is separate them into colored and white. The color I am using for family cloth wipes. The white I'm going to use for handkerchiefs. I haven't bought tissues for months. But that doesn't mean we don't use tissues. Rather we have just used toilet paper for tissues. As the cold season hit us I started realizing how wasteful this was. Luckily we did have a handful of large handkerchiefs that my husband used a bandannas for tennis. Now he has two or three he really like and let me have the rest to use for the kids noses. Unfortunately when both boys and myself where fighting head colds the few handkerchiefs we had just didn't seem enough. So my idea is that the white sleeves will be perfect once (or twice) use handkerchiefs and there are enough of them that even if I wash every other day I should have enough. Of course we haven't really had runny noses to test this. So we'll see.

I'm sure there are lots of other ideas for old t-shirts. These are just what I'm doing right now.